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Business “healthy?” Your employees should be, too

We all know that staying healthy is important for us, but have you ever thought about it as a business strategy? Think of all the things HVAC/R businesses of all sizes do to try and cut costs – a healthier workplace falls right in line with that strategy and has little downside for you, your employees or company productivity.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded study by Cornell University showed that wellness programs can work in five years if companies can decrease employee health risk factors by as little as 2 percent. In this study, DOW Chemicals was used as an example and it showed that it would receive a 300 percent return on its investment if it lowered employee health risk factors by only 1 percent. For a company that size, that means $10 million per year. Your business is probably smaller, but money is money.

Here’s a few ways you can try and implement some healthy habits around your operation or shop. Think of the drop in sick days, fewer worker’s compensation claims, lower health insurance costs and increased morale for your techs and office employees.

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  • Instead of the old-style vending machine, why not offer healthy snacks to employees? Think about replacing candy bars, pastries and other unhealthy items that may be in a vending machine or snack drawer with fresh fruits, vegetables and beef jerky. Your employees will also have more energy to last them through the day – a positive for getting in, getting out and getting the job done. Something we love.
  • Get your employees to the gym. Many small or medium-sized businesses can’t afford an entire gym membership for their employees, but many can afford to chip in some portion. Also, if you negotiate with some local businesses, you can often get a corporate discount rate for your employees. Remember that techs and office workers will likely have different workout needs, so try and find something that fits for all of them.
  • If you inform your employees of their personal health picture, the results can be great. Many health insurance or local health organizations offer health screenings, sometimes even at your business. These will give employees an idea of their overall health, resources to take care of any medical issues and show that their employer cares about their health. Health insurance carriers often give discounts for these types of screenings.
  • There’s many other things you can do for your employees: start a sports team for employees, offer classes to quit smoking, provide resources for mental health or bring in a nutritionist for a lunchtime chat about healthy eating. Giving a tech some tips on healthy options to eat for lunch while he’s out on the job sounds simple, but the repercussions could be great for all involved.

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As always, go with what makes sense for your business – HVAC/R businesses are not the same as an office with employees who sit in a cube. Customize your wellness plan to fit the unique nature of the industry. Your employees might need the nudge to begin a healthier lifestyle, but the benefits are clear for them and you. We’d love to hear how you’re trying to make your office healthier. What challenges with wellness are unique to an HVAC/R company? What has stopped you from starting one? If you have a wellness plan, what does it include? Leave a comment below; we’d love to read them.